Found this site today; lots of games written in BASIC and Extended BASIC for the TI-99/4A. Many have the visual appeal of a typical typed-from-magazine game, but *some* have some *really* spectacular graphics, considering the limitations of the VDP.

Just look at the start-up screen for Royal Game of Ur for example. WOW!

@vertigo that was my second ever computer, after the t/s 1000 and before the kaypro ii - it was a fun machine and some of the game cartridges were top notch. I never did get the speech synthesizer expansion I wanted tho (but ended up with a 300 baud modem with the kaypro, so ended up ahead really)


@djsundog Playing Parsec without the speech synthesizer leaves one slightly underwhelmed, but it was still a fun game.

A friend of mine did have the speech synth cart, and playing Parsec felt like you had a copilot.

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@djsundog Looking at these games makes me want to finish the VDC-II project all the more.

@requiem @djsundog Yes; it's a clone of the Commodore 8568 VDC chip, which provided the 80-column mode of the Commodore 128.

I also have plans to enhance the VDC (hence the -II suffix) with new features that should make it more appealing for writing simple games. E.g., a different attribute format that grants 16 foreground *and* background colors, basic sprite support, etc.

@requiem @djsundog Unfortunately, the VDC-II card I'm working on now will not be able to use many of the features I have planned; not enough memory.

Not enough pins on the TinyFPGA BX to drive both a VGA display and a HyperRAM module at the same time.

@requiem @djsundog So, for now, the video card (which is only intended to serve as a proof-of-concept for the bigger, more sophisticated concept) will be productivity focused (16K of video memory, courtesy of the FPGA's built-in block memory).

I intend the larger, more feature complete card (which will really just be a generic FPGA dev board) to have both VGA and HyperRAM support, and so should be able to support features.

@vertigo @djsundog I’ll be keeping an eye on this :)

I also want to find a non-dumb way to interface a character LCD (HD44780 controller type) because I’d like to build a portable akin to the Model-100 at some point...

@vertigo @djsundog like, not using more steps than necessary. I’ve interfaced these with atmegas before, so I know how to go RC2014 -> serial -> atmega -> display but there probably a more direct route that doesn’t burn a serial port.

@requiem @djsundog Ahh, I see.

This would be a bit of a hack; but, the IDE controller is barely anything more than an Intel 8255 parallel I/O chip and a 40-pin header. I'm thinking if you build a custom cable from the IDE header to the LCD display, you should be able to write software that bit-bangs the 8255 to drive the LCD interface.

@vertigo @djsundog Yeah, I imagine I could interface it to the bus like a proper I/O device (it uses a 4 or 8 bit parallel interface) I’m just not smart enough yet to know how to do it.

I’ve been reading Zaks assembler book which has taught me a lot about basic interfacing but I need to know more, more! 😂

@vertigo I played soooo much parsec and had no idea what I was missing out on because no one else I knew had one lol but that probably worked out in this case too I suppose

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